Benefit sanctions, whereby social security claimants have their payments stopped for at least a month as a punishment for supposedly breaching strict jobcentre rules, are a key driver of hunger and food bank use, according to a study carried out by Oxford University academics.
The study, which mapped official sanctions data against food bank referral figures, concluded that a “robust link” existed between increases in the number of benefit sanctions handed out and rising numbers of adults receiving food parcels.
Not sure I’d want to say it’s exclusively about sanctions though. I would have thought the normal number of state fuck ups should be counted too.
Ministers have persistently refused to accept that welfare reforms are connected to the explosion in food bank use in recent years, despite a number of studies that link sanctions and benefit processing delays to financial crises which leave individuals and families reliant on food parcels.
I would guess that the important part is in the first clause of that sentence. If increased use is due to “welfare reforms” then everyone gets to scream austerity. And that’s not really the point, is it?